The debut guide is set to be unveiled in June 2022 with many chefs sharpening their knives in anticipation. With so many Michelin-starred chefs already in the City of Gold, don’t be surprised to see a handful of the best restaurants go straight in with two or even three stars.
But even when that trusted guide comes out, you may only have time to dine at several restaurants in a single trip, so choosing where to make a reservation will still be tricky. Each restaurant we recommend below is not simply somewhere to eat, but a destination in its own right, with stunning décor, amazing views and unforgettable culinary experiences as standard.
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Ristorante L’Olivo at Al Mahara
Drawing inspiration from both its watery surrounds, the menu at Ristorante L’Olivo at Al Mahara is seafood-heavy / ©Jumeirah
Capri’s Michelin-starred Ristorante L’Olivo brings a taste of Italy to the city as one of the best places to eat in Dubai. Having only moved into Burj Al Arab Jumeirah’s iconic restaurant space earlier this year, L’Olivo is still a newbie on the competitive Dubai dining scene, but guests are already being delighted by chef Andrea Migliaccio’s culinary delights – and of course, the iconic aquarium setting. Drawing inspiration from both its watery surrounds and Capri’s long ocean heritage, the menu at Ristorante L’Olivo at Al Mahara is seafood-heavy, with a focus on rich flavors and culinary craftsmanship.
The stunning Fi’lia interior / ©Fi’lia
With successful restaurants in the US and the Bahamas, Fi’lia brought its unique brand of Italian cookery to the United Arab Emirates in 2021. Despite being one of the city’s newer eateries,it is already gaining a reputation as one of the best restaurants in Dubai’s ever-evolving dining scene. Fi’lia offers beautiful food and stunning cityscape views from its position on the 70th floor of SLS Dubai, however, what makes it stand out is not its location or its menu but its leadership team, which is entirely female-led.
Helmed by Jordanian-Palestinian chef Sara Aqel, Fi’lia offers an authentic taste of Italian cookery. Based on the age-old concept of recipes being passed on from one generation to the next, the restaurant’s name ‘Fi’lia’ – taken from figlia, the Italian for ‘daughter’ – was born out of this intergenerational approach. A fitting title for putting a modern spin on traditional and much-loved Italian-Mediterranean dishes.
Ask for a table close to the water for the ultimate Eauzone experience / ©Eauzone
The atmosphere at Eauzone is casual during the day, reflecting the slow pace of the One&Only Royal Mirage and the lazy sea beyond. After sunset, however, this venue smartens up into a sleek, refined restaurant serving modern Asian cuisine. The design is beautifully positioned around the pool, giving the impression that it is floating on the translucent water. A winding walkway over the pool shows the way into the restaurant where there is a stylish bar and a glamorous, striped poolside marquee deck. We recommend a table close to the water for the ultimate Eauzone experience.
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La Petite Maison
The restaurant is sprawling, with plenty of space for big leisurely lunches and dinners
Magnificently located in Dubai International Financial Centre, La Petit Maison is a celebration of Mediterranean cuisine, with a menu that takes much of its inspiration from the fresh flavors of the South of France. Local produce — notably artichokes, courgettes, lemons, olives, tomatoes, peppers and girolles — is used generously with seafood, meat and fresh pasta to produce a style that’s light and healthy. Often affectionately known as La Grande Maison, the restaurant is sprawling, with plenty of space for big leisurely lunches and dinners.
Fourteen live cooking stations provide authentic cuisine from the Middle East while guests enjoy live entertainment
The Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa signature restaurant is a 60-minute drive from Dubai airport. The resort is hidden among sand dunes, giving the image of an isolated oasis perfect for a fine-dining experience under the stars at the beautiful Al Hadheerah restaurant. Fourteen live cooking stations provide authentic cuisine from the Middle East while guests enjoy live entertainment. The Emirati Heritage Museum is also located nearby for an extra dose of culture.
Zheng He’s offers views of the Burj Al Arab and the Gulf beyond / ©Zheng He’s
Award-winning chefs at Zheng He’s pride themselves on creating dishes that blend modern Western presentation with old Chinese flavors. The setting adds to this fusion — on the ‘dockside’ of a canal that weaves itself into the Jumeirah Mina A’Salam resort, it has an atmosphere of ancient simplicity while retaining views of the Burj Al Arab and the Gulf beyond. Be sure to try the signature Fortune Beggar Chicken among the exquisite Chinese fare on offer.
Enjoy Nobu classics such as its legendary seared black cod served with sweet miso sauce
Based at the Atlantis Hotel, Nobu is a safe bet on any list of the best restaurants in Dubai. The iconic menu fuses cutting-edge Japanese style with Arabian influences while retaining Nobu classics such as its legendary seared black cod served with sweet miso sauce, and yellowtail topped with thin slices of jalapeño. The menu is complemented by a sushi bar and stylish surroundings, including private areas for more intimate gatherings. Cooking classes are available, allowing guests to learn the secrets behind this world-famous restaurant chain, created by globally renowned chef Nobu Matsuhisa to redefine Japanese cuisine.
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Thiptara offers diners exemplary Thai cuisine with a focus on Bangkok-style seafood / ©Thiptara
Located at Palace Downtown Dubai, Thiptara offers diners exemplary Thai cuisine with a focus on Bangkok-style seafood. Aptly named Thiptara, meaning ‘Magic of the Water,’ the elegant restaurant overlooks the Dubai Fountain, making it one of the most romantic restaurants in Dubai. Thiptara’s chef de cuisine has created a menu that pays tribute to Thai culinary traditions; expect a range of fresh, flavorful dishes that cover a spectrum of the nation’s signature recipes. We recommend trying traditional courses with Thai iced tea or a cognac from the restaurant’s spirits selection.
Buddha-Bar is famed for its unique food, eclectic atmosphere and ambient music from an on-site DJ
Widely considered to be one of the best venues in Dubai, the Buddha-Bar is located in the Grosvenor House hotel and is named after the giant Buddha statue that watches over this lavish setting. Actually three venues — a restaurant, bar and outdoor lounge opening onto the Arabian Sea — Buddha-Bar is famed for its unique food, eclectic atmosphere and ambient music from a resident DJ. The sumptuous restaurant serves a fusion of sushi, Chinese and Thai food, with a bar that plays host to Dubai’s most stylish crowds.
The pier is a romantic outpost, far removed from the noise and bustle of Dubai / ©Pierchic
Set on a bedecked pier jutting out into the Arabian Gulf, Pierchic offers some of Dubai’s finest seafood and has previously been recognized as Time Out Dubai’s Best Seafood Restaurant. The pier is a romantic outpost, far removed from the noise and bustle of Dubai and offering unspoiled views of the azure Gulf. Enjoy an intimate dinner of modern European seafood dishes alfresco, and take in views of the Arabian Gulf from your over-water dining table. The restaurant is located at the end of a pier at the illustrious Jumeirah Al Qasr hotel, where guests will be transported via a rickshaw. Before a fresh-catch dinner, sip cocktails at the stylish Pierchic Bar.
The flagship restaurant at the Grosvenor House Hotel is a tribute to the late Gary Rhodes / ©Rhodes W1
Dubai has made a habit of adopting Michelin–starred chefs in restaurants such as Rhodes W1. The flagship restaurant at the Grosvenor House Hotel was headed by the late British Gary Rhodes, who became a TV sensation in the 1990s with his astonishing fusion of Anglo–French cuisine. Today, it pays homage to his legacy with a team of international chefs. The innovative menu of sharing dishes is exceptional and uses fresh ingredients sourced from Europe, matched by an extensive collection of modern and vintage wines. Be sure to try a Sunday visit too, when the restaurant makes the most of its English heritage with a mouth-watering roast menu. Seating in the terrace garden provides panoramic views over Dubai Marina, with interiors lush with greenery and chic yellow accents with a fresh and energetic appeal.
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Choix Patisserie and Restaurant
World-renowned chef Pierre Gagnaire, known for taking creative cuisine to its absolute limit, is behind this restaurant at InterContinental Dubai Festival City. Matching the success of his other restaurants in London, Paris and Tokyo, Choix has become renowned as one of the finest restaurants in Dubai, in particular for its afternoon tea. The restaurant offers à la carte dining for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a decadent range of pastries and desserts to make the meal even more special. Savor the fish-of-the-day, beef rib eye, or mushroom tortellini. The contemporary white interiors are complemented by the city views this dining space commands.
The beauty of Zuma is that it is luxuriously unfussy, specializing in the Japanese Izakaya style of dining, in which food is served to share. Zuma combines its classic Japanese dishes with bold, intense flavors and an emphasis on simple presentation acquired through quality ingredients. In the Japanese izakaya style of dining, dishes are steadily brought to the table, timed to create a relaxed style of eating that maintains an air of elegance.